Home / Computing / Desktop PC / HP Touchsmart 600-1220uk / Features and TouchSmart Interface

HP Touchsmart 600-1220uk - Features and TouchSmart Interface

By Benny Har-Even

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The TouchSmart is not short of inputs either. An S-Video in with accompanying line-in and both Component and HDMI inputs are present. The latter two are particularity welcome, making this of immediate appeal for anyone that wants to hook up a games console. The absence of these was sorely missed on the TouchSmart IQ810 we reviewed back in January.

One thing that that was notable for its absence is the Firewire port, so anyone hanging onto a DV camcorder will not be able to plug in and edit on the TouchSmart 600.

On the back right of the machine you’ll find a Blu-ray drive with DVD writing capability and since we last looked at a TouchSmart, you can now play directly from the TouchSmart interface.

On initial launch it features a row of touch optimised applications running across the bottom in a ribbon. Pressing the relevant icon opens the application and once done, it remains open until you drag your finger from the top bar of the app straight down back onto the ribbon. You can have all the touch apps open at once, but the responsiveness will inevitably be hardware dependant. With the Core i5 in place and the 4GB of RAM, the TouchSmart 600 barely broke a sweat even with several open at once. Once multiple applications are open you can swipe between them with your finger either with a quite dismissive swipe, or slowly and deliberately.

As a machine that could well find itself being mounted on the wall of a (clearly well appointed) kitchen, it makes sense that there’s a selection of recipes to look through. We also particularly like the calendar, and it was a simple task to sync it with a Google Apps account and populate it with diary entries.

In case you’re wondering, text entry via touch is straightforward, with a large on-screen keyboard.

Another touch app that caught the eye is Canvas, that lets you, or any younger fingers in the household, draw, paint, swish and blob colours onto the screen. For a family PC this could have great appeal – in fact kids will love it. Using it is involving and even therapeutic, which isn’t something we normally say about desktop PCs.

As far as image quality goes, we found the screen to be bright and punchy, and text was pleasingly sharp. The picture was eminently watchable but contrast levels were not the very best, with evidence of crushed blacks. Dark areas of the image looked, well, dark, with a lack of dark detail that can make some action hard to follow. Overall though, we’d be happy with it for casual viewing.

The speakers also impressed for volume and have clearly been designed not to distort when pushed up to maximum. The sound does get slightly muddy but it enjoys decent volume and clarity.

GoldenGuy

November 18, 2010, 5:11 pm

You gotta admit though, Apple is taking the mick by touting their iMac as the ultimate media centre when they still refuse to put a simple Blu-Ray drive in. I'd say that makes the choice a lot more difficult than the mere £50 gap you suggest. (Course you could always add one on under Windows with Boot Camp but the point stands.)

TechVegan

November 18, 2010, 8:42 pm

@GoldenGuy:


That's why we didn't say the iMac was superior altogether but rather an 'interesting alternative'. And as you mention, at least it's possible to add blu-ray to the iMac, while you can't upgrade the TouchSmart's average screen to an IPS panel as used in Apple's machine. But I do agree, it is 'taking the mic'.

jingyeow

November 18, 2010, 10:22 pm

Well the future is downloads and streaming. Apple can see this, and isn't even bothering with the disc route I guess. I myself do not purchase ANY games outside of Steam anymore. I don't want the clutter of discs or the time wasted installing games in that fashion.





The only time I ever use the DVD drive in my pc, is to watch the odd box-set like Futurama, and even then I'd prefer to rip them to the pc, so I never have to use discs again.

Jayboy

November 18, 2010, 11:46 pm

Downloads and streaming are the future. But until i get more than 50GBs a month download cap then i will stick to buying Blu-Ray discs and watch them on my tv rather than computer. I agree about Steam though. Since its come out for mac i can see finally how great it is. Being able to redownload titles with no charge is great too

TechVegan

November 19, 2010, 2:58 pm

@darkspark88:


It might be the future but it's far from a reality for many, and I agree with Jayboy.


About the games, surely it takes longer to download and install than to just install from disc? It's the same amount of data, after all...


And physical media still offer many advantages: you can't sell on digital downloads, or lend them to friends; they use up your bandwidth and data allowance; and you have to print quick-cards, manuals and maps yourself if you want to view them while gaming.

Dork

August 28, 2011, 9:01 pm

Bought this recently for £800. Great Price. Absolutely delighted. Its an amazing machine and the touchscreen works brilliantly. Pity about all the finger smudges. Yeah the silly kids games can be removed and you have to download alot of windows updates; but thats no big deal. The review did not mention that you have to use a usb dongle to get the wireless mouse\keyboard to work (all supplied); so that unnecessarily uses up usb port. Alot of computer with alot of features for the money.

comments powered by Disqus